Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five Desperate Women

"Five Desperate Women" is a 1971 made for TV movie that aired as an ABC Movie of the Week, starring: , , , , , and .

Years after graduating from a private college, five friends reconnect for a reunion by chartering a boat to take them to a remote island off the coast of California where they will stay at an isolated seaside house.  The only inhabitants of the island are the five women: Lucy, Dorian, Joy, Gloria and Mary Grace as well as two men: the caretaker Michael & the boat captain Jim.  Unbeknownst to the women, there is a maniacal killer on the loose from the local insane asylum who at the beginning of the film kills a man on the beach and steals his clothes which have the island resort's company logo.

 The women are each taking a break from the lives they have ended up with since college.  At the beginning they all make it appear that each is doing well but little by little the truth surfaces and we learn that their lives aren't so happy after all.  When one of the women is found strangled in her bed, this makes the other four even more desperate to get off the island and away from the two men - one of which has to be the murderer.  Just when they try to get away, the boat explodes and the suspicions grow.

Will the four remaining women make it out alive?  Will they learn new things about themselves and their lives and be able to pick up the pieces if they make it out?  This is a pretty standard made for TV thriller that nevertheless is fun to watch.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Stone Tape

"The Stone Tape" (1972) is a British TV movie starring   about an electronics company research team that moves its lab into a haunted old building.

Brilliant and erratic Peter Brock (Bryant) leads a research team for Ryan Electronics.  The team is trying to discover the next storage medium other than cassette tape. The scientists and computer programmers include Jill Greeley (Asher) who immediately takes a dislike to the house.  When they go to see the progress of the storage room, they find out from Roy Collinson (Cuthbertson) that the workers wouldn't finish it because they were scared of something.  Jill immediately starts hearing screams and calls for help and seeing visions.  She eventually convinces the others that there's something in that stone room.

Jill feeds the information into a computer program she has developed and comes to believe that what is seen and heard in that room is a psychic impression that is encoded on the stone walls.  Peter believes this to be the discovery they have been waiting for and diverts the team's resources to studying this phenomenon and trying to figure out how to apply it to something they can sell. In his zeal for success, he drives the rest of the team toward madness.

"The Stone Tape" is a pretty good TV movie about not your typical haunted house.  It even tries to explain using scientific theory how hauntings occur.  It's characters are pretty good and it's good to see a brilliant female lead in a scientific/technical role.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


"Nightmare" (1964) is a Hammer horror/thriller starring:  , and   

Janet, a teenager who goes to a private boarding school has some issues.  Her mother is in an insane asylum because she stabbed Janet's father.  Janet has recurring nightmares of her mother and of herself doing horrible things.  She is afraid she has inherited her mother's madness.  She leaves school early and returns under the watchful eye of her schoolteacher Mary Lewis to her family home.

Her guardian Henry Baxter has arranged a nurse named Grace Maddox to be there.  Shortly after arriving, Janet continues to have dreams that she can't decide are dreams or reality. She also keeps seeing a scar faced woman in white that glides around the house.  Poor Janet seems to be going mad, or is she being driven mad?

This film takes an unexpected turn a little over halfway through.  This is good, suspenseful thriller that will keep you guessing until the end.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Conjuring

"The Conjuring" (2013) starring Vera FarmigaPatrick WilsonLili Taylor and Ron Livingston is based on the true case records of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.  It's the truly frightening account of the haunting of the Perron family's old country house in Rhode Island.

The Perron family, Carolyn (Taylor) & Roger (Livingston) and their five daughters, moves from the big city to an old farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island.  Not long after arriving, strange things start happening that no one can explain.  The family dog won't go into the house.  All the clocks stop at 3:07 each morning.  The youngest daughter starts talking to a friend only she can see.  Another daughter keeps having her feet grabbed in the middle of the night.  Carolyn wakes up each morning with new bruises on her body.  Plus, the family discovers a boarded up door to the cellar filled with an old piano and other furniture and cast offs from previous families.  The hauntings continue to escalate until the family with no one else to turn to, seeks the help of demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga) Warren are a husband wife team of psychic and supernatural researchers who have solved many so called hauntings and documented some real ones too.  Lorraine is a clairvoyant who can sense spirits.  The Warren's initial investigation into the Perron home leads them to believe it needs an exorcism to get rid of the bad spirit that haunts the house after deaths there centuries ago.  In order to convince the Catholic church to conduct an exorcism, they must gather documented evidence of the haunting or possession.  It is that investigation that takes place during the movie.

"The Conjuring" is a real old fashioned type of haunted house, supernatural horror movie that uses all the types of scares one would expect and much more.  The tension slowly builds as the hauntings escalate and the use of scary sounds, sights and atmosphere add to the general creepiness of this movie.  If you are in the mood for a good haunted house ghost story without all the blood and gore, check this movie out.  You won't be disappointed and you will definitely be scared!